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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

The best teachers on TV and film

We all had that one teacher at school who inspired us – one way or another.

For me it was Clive Marshall, he was the English and sports teacher at my junior school and somehow decided I (as a chubby and fronting 12 year-old) was perfectly placed to join his rugby team and be a house captain. He also got me out of trouble a couple of times.

But I digress. We found out today that following Joe Wicks’ success as the nation’s PE teacher, Danny Dyer is now set to become the nation’s history teacher.

This has, of course, sent Twitter into overdrive as keyboard warriors imagine what Prof Dyer’s first class will look or sound like.

So, with that image ringing in your ears, here are some of the best teachers delivered to us by TV and film – along with the lessons we can learn from them.

Mr Keating, Dead Poets’ Society

While Dead Poets’ Society may not be the teaching role which won Robin Williams his Oscar, this take on the teacher who thinks and operates outside the box of a school’s rigid rules managed to make learning and thinking seem rebellious.

Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter

Dumbledore may have been the headmaster, but we all know Minvera McGonagall was the brains and the best teacher at Hogwarts.

Miss Honey, Matilda

If spotting potential in a child and helping them realise it is the aim of a teacher then Miss Honey deserves a place atop this list. And she has one. She may be too cookie-cutter good for real life, but she is the teacher so many little kids hope to find on their first day.

Mr D, School of Life

What if Ryan Reynolds was a teacher. While still being Ryan Reynolds. That is the message behind ‘Mr D’, who is at the centre of this heart-warming film about teachers who prove you’re never too old to learn.

Coach Carter, Coach Carter

“I’m not a teacher, I’m your new basketball coach.” So Samuel L Jackson announces himself on the scene of Coach Carter – this one gets extra props for being based on a true story.

Emily Sands, Sex Education

From fighting Maeve’s corner to embarrassing herself in detention or having an on-off relationship with the science teacher, Miss Sands is one of the unsung stars of Netflix’s brilliant Sex Education.

Mr Schu and Sue Sylvester, Glee

Individually, the two primary teaching staff members from musical teen tv series Glee are fundamentally flawed, put if you put the right parts of them together you would have a pretty good teacher. Or an insecure, offensive, self-obsessed blockhead.

Mr Gilbert, The Inbetweeners

Maybe not the most inspirational figure on this list, but one of the few who could actually take a class. Actor and comedian Greg Davies worked as a drama teacher before beginning his work on stage and screen. Though, if his stories for Graham Norton are anything to go by, he was not exactly an exemplary member of the faculty.

Indiana Jones, Indiana Jones

They say “those who can’t, teach”. If you ever needed proof that is not true, look no further than Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr. The flirting with students hasn’t aged so well.

Gervase Fenn, The Gervase Fenn Mysteries

Edmund Crispin’s erratic, irritable, genius amateur detective manages to fit spouting Shakespeare, commenting on opera and solving murders into his teaching schedule. It is important to be able to multi-task.

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